If this were a private company, the CEO by now would probably have been fired, significant restructuring would have been done to save money, or the company would have tried re-organizational bankruptcy.

But, this is the government, and the only fallout from the Washington Healthcare Exchange not meeting projected goals is, taxpayers will ultimately have to foot the bill. Apparently, it's not paying for itself as promised.

According to a report from the Washington Policy Center (WPC) and ShiftWA, the healthcare exchange, or Washington Healthplan Finder as it officially known, depends upon three elements to work.

1. A tax is charged on insurance premiums that are paid through the exchange, from people who've purchased insurance there.

2. A tax is levied on the insurance companies who sell these policies, and

3. State taxpayer money that is funneled through the exchange.

Criteria 1 and 2 require a certain number of policies to be sold each year, so that tax money will help fund the program. It's simple math. If there aren't enough policies sold, then the tax revenue will not be high enough. So where will more money have to come from?  Criteria 3, Washington state citizens, or taxpayers, whether you buy your insurance on the Exchange or not.

The WPC report and state data shows only 87,000 people have re-enrolled so far since it's inception, and only 40,000 so far this year.  The Washington State Health Benefit Exchange had predicted there would be 214,000 total, and 83,000 new people who would join. Those totals included the 140,000 who signed up last fall.

 The overall number of people who've signed up since the exchange opened last year is 40% below projections, while new enrollees this year are 48% below the goal. That means the only way to "balance the budget" of the Exchange is to pull in more taxpayer money.

If you're wondering why only 87,000 of the original 140,000 enrollees elected to come back to the Exchange again this year, it's because many of them couldn't afford the new plans they purchased. Some 53,000 elected to seek coverage elsewhere. Many of these people had their original plans cancelled because they were deemed non-compliant with the new terms of Obamacare. They dropped out of the exchange.

Either way,  the WPC and ShiftWA report taxpayers will end up footing the bill for what is increasingly being called a "failed" healthcare exchange program.


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